Ashley Blythe

Wood Floor Maintenance Tips From A Pro

3 Simple Steps to Maintaining Wood Floors

ONE:  Sweep up the grit.  But whatever you do, don't use your carpet vacuum cleaner. The hard wheels will scuff and possibly leave scratches in the finish of your floor.  Simply use a flat wood floor mop to sweep up dirt. If you have a large amount of wood floors and tile in your home or place of business, consider investing in a commercial backpack vacuum such as the "SuperCoach" with the proper accessories. It will make the job easier.
TWO:  Mop the floors.  However, you must use the right cleaning solution or you could leave a residue on the floors.  Site-finished polyurethane wood floors and factory finished wood floors don't need oil soap or vinegar or pine cleaner.  If you're looking for something in the local hardware store, be sure to look closely at the label.  If it says "restores shine", leave it on the shelf. The cleaner should be an alcohol and water solution which will leave the floor residue free.  Use a spray bottle to apply the cleaner and a flat mop for the cleanup.  Don't pour the solution onto the floor.  You just want to dampen the floor with the cleaner.
THREE:  Protect the floor from furniture. Use felt pads to keep chairs from scratching the floor where the chair leg meets the floor. Same for any other furniture that occasionally gets moved around.
Specific products that I'd avoid:Murphy's Oil Soap, PineSol or other Pine Products, Vinegar, Furniture Polish, OrangeGlo Polish and Cleaner, Bona Kemi Floor Refresher, Pledge Wood Floor Cleaner, Swiffer Wet Jet products, Bissell or other hardwood floor cleaning machines, Steam Mop

 

This is a fantastic concentrate cleaner that I always recommend for hardwood floor cleaning. It can be purchased on Amazon and it makes 5 gallons when properly diluted.This is a fantastic concentrate cleaner that I always recommend for hardwood floor cleaning. It can be purchased on Amazon and it makes 5 gallons when properly diluted.But my floors look dull, what should I do now?
If you want to avoid the guy with the sander, here's what you do.
Let's assume that you've been doing everything right. You've used felt pads on your furniture. You've laid out rugs at the entry points of your home to shake dirt off of incoming shoes. You've kept the floors swept on a weekly basis and you've used the right kind of cleaner and mop. Guess what, there's still some long-term maintenance items to talk about.
Even with proper maintenance, the finish on any floor will wear down if it sees any regular traffic. In my home we have regularly see family members, friends, dogs, guests that bring their dogs, active kids, and so on. Our wood floors take a beating! The clear layer of finish on the wood floors will eventually wear away into layers underneath. If the wear is really excessive and the finish layer gets totally worn through, the wood can potentially be exposed and YOU DON'T WANT THIS TO HAPPEN! More on that later: Recoating.
DEEP CLEANING: Think of deep cleaning your wood floors in the same way that you think about shampooing your carpet. You use a vacuum cleaner to pick up loose dirt and debris but the vacuum doesn't have the ability to chemically treat stubborn stains. The same goes for wood floors. The deep cleaning process uses chemicals which are not safe for everyday use and really should be used by a trained technician. The deep cleaning product I use is IFT by Basic Coatings (See the Amazon link below). When used properly, IFT will gently and effectively break down stubborn buildup that regular cleaning leaves behind. This stronger solution has the muscle to penetrate through oily residue, some waxes, soap residue, food stains, and other nasty stuff WITHOUT damaging the top layer of finish on most varieties of wood floors. Paste wax finished floors and Danish Oil finished floors are not suitable for IFT. Be sure to read the directions carefully before using any product such as IFT and test in a small inconspicuous area for potential problems before using on the entire floor. After IFT is used to clean up the muck, you'll see on the towel or in the autoscrubbing machine just how dirty your floors were. The final step in the deep cleaning is a rinse to remove any remaining IFT and rinse away any broken up crud left behind from your previous passes. This step is critical and you don't want to leave IFT on the floor without rinsing it with Squeaky (See Amazon link below). If the top protective layer of finish on your floors is in stable condition, the original sheen should return to the floors. Clarity should be restored and the floors should feel clean to the touch.
How often should I deep clean? This totally depends on how much you have on your wood floors. As a general rule, I like to recommend that a homeowner get the deep cleaning done twice a year. This will maintain the clarity of your floors and keep them looking great.
RECOATING: Restoring the finish on wood floors is not something that is easily done out of a cheap squeeze-bottle of orangeglo. In fact, the more inexpensive products will shine like crazy when applied and dull very rapidly, leaving the disappointed homeowner with the choice of reapplying the product or chemically stripping it and hiring a pro. Most homeowners keep laying on the coats of "restoration in a bottle", only to discover that the product is ineffective AFTER its too late. Pros like me rely on the tried and true method of screening and recoating. This means that the floors need to be deep cleaned first to remove all surface contamination, the finish layer is then abraded to give it some "tooth" for the next coat, and a new coat of finish is applied. This "screen and recoat" method is effective for any site finished wood floor with a topcoat of polyurethane. This is what really works. Its a reapplication of the clear coat and it gives the floor new protection, new life, new shine, as well as fills in surface scratches and imperfections.
How often should I recoat my wood floors? This all depends on what kind of finish was used on your floors, how much traffic they see, what kind of texture the wood floors have (smooth or rustic hand scraped), and other factors. An experienced technician can tell you if your wood floors are in need of recoating.
PRO-RECOAT: Pro-Recoat is a process that starts with the deep cleaning and finishes with a new coat of polyurethane BUT instead of abrading the floor (like the screen and recoat), Pro-Recoat uses a chemical bonding agent to prepare the surface of the target floor and provides excellent adhesion for a new catalyzed polyurethane finish. WHAT IS THAT? A catalyzed polyurethane finish is a product that has a base liquid and before the finish is applied, a chemical hardening agent is mixed in. This chemical hardening agent creates a molecular cross-link which translates into the toughest and most abrasion resistant floor coating on the market. This is why we call it Pro-Recoat, because its the most durable finish on the market.
Pro-Recoat Continued: The finish coat product we use is made by Basic Coatings and its called StreetShoe. It's available only to pros and its REALLY expensive. I would never recommend that an inexperienced homeowner attempt to use this product because its almost impossible to remove once it sets up. When used properly, a Pro-Recoating will provide the homeowner with a finish that lasts for upwards of 15 years before needing another recoat. The total process is sandless, dustless, water-based, and contains no paint thinner type chemicals in it so the fumes are very tolerable. A professional recoating with Streetshoe will take approximately 1 to 2 days to complete and 24 hours to cure. Heavy traffic and furniture can return to the rooms after 48 hours have passed from the final application. Pro-Recoat uses certified Green products and is U.S. Green Council LEED NC 2.2 compliant.
Is Pro-Recoat available for other types of wood floors? Yes. These dustless products are compatible with aluminum oxide finishes commonly found in prefinished, engineered wood floors. An experienced technician can perform an adhesion test to see if the Pro-Recoat products will work on your floors.


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Posted By: Ashley Blythe 13 years ago

Category: Industry Specific

Tags: Wood Floor Maintenance, wood floor refinishing, Wood Floors